Mackenzie Mencer, a junior from Ripley High School enrolled in the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Graphic Arts Program at the Hewes Educational Center in Ashville, won second place in photography at the New York State SkillsUSA Championships, which were held in Syracuse from April 13-15.
Over a period of six hours, Mackenzie, who is in her first year enrolled in the two-year Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Graphics Technology Program, had to demonstrate her abilities as a photographer, her knowledge of the field, and her digital photograph editing skills while competing against high school juniors and seniors from all across New York State.
“Mackenzie never ceases to amaze me with her knowledge of photography and her eye for design. She is a great photographer. She is constantly learning from others by using the internet to research the work of other photographers, her favorite of which is Robert Capa,” said Mark Anderson, graphics technology instructor at the Hewes Center,
There were several components of the competition. Mackenzie had one hour to go out on a field assignment and take a photograph that captured the competition’s theme, “Depth of Field,” which refers to the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene. For this, she chose to photograph, among other things, a row of ceiling lights and a row of trash cans. She also had to combine her four best photographs into a creative composite to demonstrate her artistic abilities and her skills utilizing the photo editing program Adobe Photoshop.
In addition to the field assignment, Mackenzie had to combine three pre-selected images into a photo composite using Photoshop following very strict guidelines, replicating as closely as possible an example provided by the judges. She had to take a studio portrait with two studio lights using a loop lighting technique, which compliments one’s entire face. She was given 10 photographs with common problems related to digital photography and had to troubleshoot them. Finally, she had to take a knowledge test that assessed her knowledge of a variety of areas related to photography.
The Graphics Technology Program is one of 13 two-year Career and Technical Education programs that allow high school juniors and seniors to gain experience and technical knowledge in highly specialized fields of their choosing while earning their Regents Diploma. Students who have successfully completed the requirements of their programs will receive a Technical Endorsement on their diplomas, and they will be prepared to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or pursue more advanced levels of study at post-secondary educational institutions.
SkillsUSA is a national student organization that promotes academic excellence and professionalism among high school students enrolled in career and technical training programs.